All in all, it was about as satisfactory an outcome to the election as one could realistically hope for. The Lib Dems remain marginalized, Jeremy Corbyn is not in a position of power where he can vent his hatred on those of us who don’t want to see the country remade into Greater-Islington, and the Tories are in no position to help us relive the 1930s by opting for a “Hard” Brexit.
Perhaps the most surprising results of the night came from north of the border where the SNP lost 21 seats – twelve of them to the Conservatives who ended the night with 13 total. This is an amazing result for the Tories who have only ever held a single Scottish seat since 2001. Labour (seven seats) and the Lib Dems (four seats) both made modest comebacks after being reduced to a single seat each there in 2015. It was inevitable that forming the government in Edinburgh would eventually take the shine off of the SNP, but conventional wisdom would have suggested that it would be Labour that would be the main beneficiary, not the Tories. Unless Labour can re-establish their historic dominance in Scotland (they won 41 seats there in 2010), it’s difficult to see a viable path to government for them in the near future.
In England and Wales, the results suggest that we are moving (for the time being- who knows what will happen next election) towards a two-party system. Portsmouth South is a microcosm of what was taking place throughout the country. UKIP’s vote collapsed and both the Lib Dems and Greens saw significant declines as well. Cornwall, which as recently as 2010 was split evenly between the Lib Dems and the Tories, saw Labour dramatically increase its vote count across all six constituencies and finish second in four of them. While it didn’t win them any seats, the Tories saw an increase in people voting for them in the post-industrial north.
The big losers were the Lib Dems who increased their seat count from 8 to 12, but lost their only seat in Wales, as well as former leader Nick Clegg’s seat. In my own constituency, formerly a Lib Dem stronghold, our Tory MP dramatically increased his majority over that of his convincing 2015 victory.